In the tarot card deck of Talbot Griffin’s life, the first card on the table would most likely be The Fool, that familiar vagabond traveler blithely setting out into the unknown. Scrolling through his social media accounts, Griffin’s audience can piece together a whimsical portrait of a happy-go-not-so-lucky young musician whose life has hit a few bumps in the road. After making a pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s grave in the Paris cemetery Père Lachaise, Griffin returned to New York City to find his life taking a sharp curve. His girlfriend leaves him. His boss fires him. And he’s got to find a new place to live. What’s a rising superstar musician to do? “Borrow” his grandfather’s ’67 Mustang and take a cross-country road trip to Los Angeles, where fame and fortune await him, of course!
As Griffin travels, elusive song lyrics distract and disturb him, a cut on his arm festers and refuses to heal, and the same creepy hitchhiker mysteriously appears in several stops along the way. Where is Talbot Griffin really going, and what waits for him at the end of the road?
Described by its creators as “a ghost story for the digital age,” Dark Detour, the tale of musician Talbot Griffin and his travels, is a comedy-horror tale that makes use of several social media platforms, allowing the audience to follow Talbot Griffin’s harrowing adventures in real time. The interactive ghost story will wrap up on Halloween, and comes with its very own safe word – MIMEKILLER – that audience members can use to opt out of the experience at any time if it becomes too intense.
This independent project is produced by a creative team led by Alison Norrington of StoryCentral and Steve Peters of No Mimes Media, along with creative consultants Brian Clark, Jan Libby, Blair Erickson, and Mike Monello. Peters and Norrington raised funds to produce the project through an Indiegogo campaign, with Clark, Libby, Erickson, and Monello added to the team through the campaign’s stretch goals. Perks for campaign backers included postcards, dashboard hula girls, project consultations, and “a personalized phone call to scare the crap out of you on or around Halloween night.”
Dark Detour launched on October 24 with plenty of material to keep an audience busy for a day. Griffin’s soon-to-be-ill-fated journey began four days prior to the launch, so the opening finds him in Arizona, on his way to visit a friend in Phoenix. The character of Talbot Griffin is responsive and accessible, directly responding to people on his Facebook page. Other characters drift through the story architecture, including Talbot’s ex-girlfriend Jenny Clancy (though they have yet to update their relationship status on Facebook) and bubbly/bizarre uberfan Amber who runs the Talbot Griffin Fan Club and fan forums. A phone number on Griffin’s Facebook – (347) 508-3027 – leads to a voicemail box where audience members can leave their numbers for Griffin to call them back, and text messages can be sent to the number as well.
As of yet, nothing particularly scary has happened in the narrative, but the devil may be making his presence known in the details, hinting at the direction the story might travel. Griffin’s obsession with his new lyrics, his wounded arm, and the recurrent ominous hitchhiker all indicate creepy plot twists yet to come. An Instagram photo of the compass in Riverside Park is labeled “Crossroads,” and the first page of lyrics to his new song also contain a reference to crossroads – “crossroads on my mind.” A crossroads, as every Supernatural fan knows, is a place where deals are made with demons. Did Talbot Griffin make an unearthly deal for the fame and fortune that he believes awaits him in Los Angeles?
Dark Detour will continue through Halloween. To join in, visit DarkDetour.com for a summary of the story so far, and discuss the spooky events on the unfiction forums or in the G+ group Griffin Observatory.